**This article is part of an ongoing series of posts taken from my book “How do I Get it all Done …and Still Have Time to Enjoy it? “
To start at the beginning and read the articles in order,click here
Honoring Your Priorities
Overloaded. Overwhelmed. Overworked. Overcommitted.
Is this you? Are you struggling to find a balance between getting it all done and having a moment to enjoy “it”? Does an evening “off” sound like a distant dream? Are you starting to wonder if there is a difference between being busy and being productive?
At the end of the day, when you’ve done all you can, and you look around and find that you haven’t done nearly enough, what did you miss? And what did you do instead? It’s a matter of not just having priorities, but honoring those priorities when you make choices throughout your day. You need to know what it is that you are to be about and then set about doing it, leaving all else aside.
Sometimes its the “leaving all else aside” that gets us off balance. Its hard to say “no”, whether its to a committee leader at church, or to our own momentary desires. But think of it this way. Every time you say “yes” to something, you are saying “no” to something else. The key is to know what you’re saying “no” to when you choose to say “yes” to something. We need to make sure that the things we are choosing to do aren’t less important than the things we will consequently have to say no to. Its easy to fill our days with many good things, it takes careful thought and selective planning to make sure we fill them with only the best.
I know you have your priorities. They may look something like this:
- My relationship with God, and my physical health
- My husband (and our home)
- My kids
- My extended family
- My ministry/my country
If your schedule is consistently overloaded, its time to do some prayerful reconstruction. Ask yourself questions like these and see how your list of priorities might help.
- Am I too busy for a quiet time with God? See priority #1
Luke 10:38-42 says “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- Do I only wish I had time for a cup of tea, a brisk walk, or to learn something new? See priority # 1
Deuteronomy 6:5 says “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” How well can I love the Lord if I do nothing to nurture my heart and soul and to increase my strength? Yes, taking care of yourself is honoring to God! Don’t let anyone tell you that taking care of yourself is selfish. Do you maintain your car so it will run well? Then why not your mind, your body, your heart and your soul?
We have a real enemy who is seeking to destroy us. What better way than through tearing down the family. And how better can he do that than to render Mom useless because she is worn, tired, and uninterested. Fight back by spending time on personal growth and enjoyment. Keep learning, keep laughing, keep coming back to God so he can fill you up and finish that which he started in you.
- Is my husband eating cereal for supper because I have too many responsibilities away from home? See priority # 2.
Proverbs 31:11 says Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. I think that would include clean socks and supper. At the risk of opening up a can of worms, I’m guessing that means a date every once in a while too!
- Are my kids signed up with so many classes and activities that I rarely interact with them on a personal level? See priority #3.
Malachi 4:5-6 says “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.”
Interesting to note that of all the things God could have chosen to “fix”, he focused on the relationship between father and child. Satan wants to destroy us by disconnecting our families. God wants to give us victory by restoring the hearts of the father to his children. Don’t let the good things of this world come between you and your child.
- Did I forget to call Mom on Mother’s day because I was busy planning next week’s co-op activities? see priority # 4
- Am I spending so much time on social media that I don’t have time to make supper for a shut-in? See priority # 5
- What am I doing with my time, and what should I be doing instead?
Ask God to show you if there are things that you need to change, and to give you the wisdom and willingness to follow where he leads. It might take some bold moves on your part. Maybe you need to put away the spelling book in leu of making fresh applesauce with your kids. Maybe its time to unsubscribe to 90% of the emails you receive, and only answer the phone when it won’t distract you from your priorities. (Do I dare mention turning off the t.v…. for good?) Do you need to put a limit on how many days a week you’ll leave your house? Perhaps its time for someone else to teach Sunday school for a while.
If you do have to make changes like these, it won’t be easy, and may not be received well by the people outside of your home. (or maybe even some inside your home if it means cutting out some things that keep you too busy) But remember, you have a ministry right inside your home and your desire is to please God. When you let him direct your path, things work out better for everyone. He will honor your efforts when you seek his desires first, Matthew 6:33. Instead of being overloaded, overwhelmed, overworked, and overcommitted, you’ll be productive, joyful, and fruitful.
Next week we’ll talk about some helpful tips for busy moms.
In the mean time, I’d love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions in the comment box below.